U.S. private jobs rebound sharply in January

The U.S. labor market recovery appears to be back on track. The ADP National Employment Report said Wednesday U.S. private payrolls rose by 174,000 jobs last month. That’s more than triple what economists had forecast.

And it’s a sharp rebound from the drop of 78,000 jobs in December. The nearly $900 billion in additional relief provided by the government at year end likely propelled the increase in hiring.

The services sector bounced back as the leisure and hospitality industry that had earlier been hard hit by the lockdowns added 35,000 jobs. The easing of restrictions on businesses has offered hope of faster job growth in the months ahead.

The economy has recouped a little more than half of the 22 million jobs lost in March and April. The Congressional Budget Office estimates employment won’t return to pre-recession levels before 2024.

Investors get the full picture Friday when the Labor Department issues its January employment report. Economists expect an increase of 50,000 jobs.